Professional Amateurs

Mar 31, 2014
Tagged with: Professional Amateurs


As an athlete for a division one school, the topic of student-athletes being paid to play hits me right at home. I get asked “don’t you wish you got paid for this bro?” by NARP (non-athletic regular people and I always respond….I do. Not in the sense that professional NBA players do by the millions of dollars, but I get paid in the form of a free education at one of the top universities in the nation. Most people forget that student/athletes are technically invested in by their universities with the hopes of a free education, just as long as the athletes perform well on the court and in the classroom. NCAA athletes are put into the public eye as soon as they are recruited and sign their letter of intent. With that comes the pressure of representing their respective school and trying to perform well at their sport.

I have met many different student/athletes on my campus and other campuses that all understand these stresses. I understand why some of these student/athletes feel that they should be getting paid. I met a student/athlete (I will not disclose his or her name or the institution of higher learning that they attend) whom scored twice in a football game, ran for 212 yards, did a press conference on live television, and stuck around to sign autographs for his fans after his game. Sounds like a celebrity right? The only difference between him and Adrian Peterson, is that Adrian Peterson gets paid to do all of this. My friend, does not.  He struggles financially as a student/athlete but still meets all of the additional commitments. The fact that my friend has to struggle to find a meal while upholding all of these commitments is preposterous. However, he is not an employee of the university but a student/athlete.

We, as student athletes, understand this. This is why student/athletes are a different breed of people. We understand that the financial gain will be there when we graduate with our degrees. It is our education and athletic accomplishments that help us move on to a better chapter in our lives. The hard work literally pays off. We’re the best at what we do. We just don’t get paid for it. We are professional amateurs.

Do you think amateur student/athletes should be paid by their university?

Author: Daniel Nong

  • bobl07

    It sort of ruins the idea of amateur athlete if you are paid. I do like the concept of struggling to make it through school. There is nothing wrong with struggling.

  • Mak

    The struggle is what makes all of us stronger.

  • Megan

    This has been the topic of many conversations in my classes for school and I could not agree with you more Mak! Being a student athlete is a privilege not a right and at the end of the day it is a choice to make that kind of commitment – I have the utmost respect for student athletes who are able to successfully navigate college and the responsibilities that come with representing their school on the playing field. Great blog!